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Thursday, July 19, 2018
CNS Lets Right-Wing Rabbi Rant Again
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com has given loopy right-wing rabbi Aryeh Spero another platform in the form of a July 3 column in which he rants about a "never-ending blitzkrieg from the media to topple President Trump." After getting the name of the Democratic Party wront (using the silly right-wing epithet "Democrat Party"), Spero rushes to the defense of the Trump administration on its treatment of refugees at the border, taking particular offense to said treatment being likened to Nazi treatment of Jews:

The Nazis separated families as part of a first phase of forced labor and murder of Jews, an entire race. We, in contrast, are taking care of these children—probably better than they’re normally taken care of—during the days of necessary investigation. No animus is intended on our part, or on the part of President Trump, AG Sessions, or the Department of Homeland Security. 

Spero then served up a decidedly political interpretation of the Bible:

Some left-wing organizations calling themselves religious, but who are more so socialist, condemned the President for not “welcoming the stranger.” In fact, years back Barack Obama quoted the Scripture “Thou shall not Afflict the Stranger” as justification for shooting down anyone who disagreed with his borders-as-sieve policy and granting a full basket of entitlements to all who come here, even illegally. But welcoming the stranger refers to individuals, not an invasion of millions, certainly not a calculated importation of millions. It’s about treating decently a stranger temporarily in the land; not about making it easy for would-be terrorists, gangs, and criminals to blithely enter; nor is it about forgetting that newcomers can’t come to feed and live off the sweat of others. It is not “affliction” to require standards.

Welcoming the stranger was not intended by the Bible to be a national suicide program. The Bible itself speaks of the blessing of impenetrable borders. Welcoming the stranger is a directive for not being cruel to people, harassing or torturing them, as was the practice in many ancient societies and still practiced today toward “infidels.” Democrats could take a lesson in decency, and stop harassing Republicans.

Note that Spero references Obama but does not acknowledge that he was president. That's because Spero spent years in a state of hysteria pushing his own Obama-hating blitzkrieg at CNS.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:47 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, July 20, 2018 8:56 AM EDT
WND Columnist Tries to Defend Ron Paul Over Racist Tweet
Topic: WorldNetDaily

When you defend the indefensible, it's best to change the subject. That's what David Gornoski does in a July 4 WorldNetDaily column trying to deflect attention from a tweet attacking "cultural Marxism" using racist caricatures from Ron Paul's Twitter account. After acknowledging it was a bad idea and uncritically swallowing Paul's explanation that a staffer, not he, was responsible, Gronoski then attacks the media for reporting on it and then going far afield to attack both President Obama and Hillary Clinton for their yeasr-ago actions in Libya and Syria ... and then starts ranting about the "mental tomb" the media are purportedly in for not reporting on the good things Paul has done:

Obviously, it was a dumb mistake for a staffer to post an ugly cartoon. But no one of an informed, sound mind thinks Ron Paul approves of racial hatred. Since the 1970s, Paul spent an entire political career denouncing the prison industrial complex, war hysteria and majority rule oppressing minorities. In every appearance, he lectures about the importance of respecting individual personhood over collective group identities: an ethic that rejects racial tribalism completely.

When Ron Paul ran for president, he promised to pardon all nonviolent offenders in prison. He challenged the Bush, Clinton, Obama-status quo of bombing Middle Eastern countries and spying on Muslims, and protested the assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki’s 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman, an innocent U.S. citizen. All things an honest press should do but refuse to this day.

[CNN's Chris] Cuomo is right. What we ignore we empower. CNN and most of the major media have continued to ignore and empower all the worst state atrocities Ron Paul has battled. Journalists like Cuomo rage against a cartoon gaffe with righteous fury. But their silence was deafening on Abdulrahman’s execution by Obama.

[...]

CNN did not slam this horror with the righteous zeal they throw at Ron Paul over a stupid cartoon. They did not show the blood-soaked faces of Libyans crying out to God over how such evil wannabe gods can get away with destroying their homes and loved ones’ bodies.

Where was Cuomo’s call for Secretary Clinton to be fired for creating mass chaos in Libya?

[...]

The media desperately wants to blot out Ron Paul’s message of truth and nonviolence from the history books. That is why they parrot the same lies to rewrite his legacy with their own myths that serve state power. But they will fail.

For now, we suffer the statist quo Cuomo and the PC media. They are whitewashed tombs – shiny on the outside for shaming rivals’ politically incorrect speech, but inside hiding the bodies sacrificed by the state they adore.

Come out of your mental tomb, media myth-makers. See our neighbors – flesh and blood victims of war and prison. Who will hide their faces from your viewers? History stands with Ron Paul. The voices of the victims of state violence will be heard.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:42 PM EDT
MRC's Double Standard on Threats to Reporters
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Curtis Houck was in high dudgeon in a July 9 post on Fox News correspondent Shannon Bream feeling threatened at a protest outside the Supreme Court. "This Is The Left," Houck declared in his headline, then argued why the alleged threats against Bream are real, while those against "liberal" jouranlists don't mean squat because it delegitimize the MRC's entire anti-media agenda:

For some time, the CNN media team have tried to delegitimize and squelch any media criticism from outside the liberal media bubble under the guise of it being responsible for triggering death threats and creating a culture of verbal harassment against journalists (most notably at Trump rallies). 

Throw in past scenes of harassment against White House officials, Senators, Trump supporters, and anyone not fully onboard with The Resistance and it’s no surprise that the next step for the perpetual leftist, violent mob is to go after conservative reporters or anyone not with, say, CNN or MSNBC.

Funny, we don't recall Houck screaming "This Is The Right" when the crowd at a Trump rally threatens a reporter.

Houck followed up two days later by attacking another reporter at the same protest, ABC's Terry Moran, for saying that he didn't feel threatened. Houck dismissed Moran's statement as "mansplaining," then huffed in yet another sneering attack on CNN: "If Moran did that to, say, Jim Acosta, it would be a five-alarm five at CNN. Because we all know how it goes over there when an old lady at a Trump rally or a man in front of him at a White House event shouts at him."

But Houck and the MRC do not value the lives or safety of "liberal" reporters like Acosta as they do conservative reporters like Bream. For instance, Houck rather deliberately did not quote what that "old lady at a Trump rally" said to Acosta:

Approximately three hours before Trump took the stage in West Columbia, an elderly woman walked right up to me and ordered me to leave the venue. Her language would likely make her grandkids blush.

"Get the f*** out of here," she told me. "Out of here. Out. Out. Out. Out."

As she screamed at me, she was waving a campaign sign for South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, who would later share the stage with Trump to receive his endorsement for another four years in office. The hundreds of people in the crowd roared with approval.

I tried to shake her hand but she refused.

"No," she said. "Out. Out. Out."

"Ma'am I have every right to be here," I reminded her.

"Out. Out. Out," she continued. "You are scum. Get out of here."

That apparently didn't warrant a screaming "This Is The Right" headline at the MRC -- and Houck would be screaming bloody murder if someone had spewed that to Bream at, say, a Hillary Clinton rally, and he certainly wouldn't be mocking Bream for having her feelings hurt by it.

We've already highlighted how the MRC cheered Trump's verbal attacks on NBC's Katy Tur during the 2016 election -- attacks the MRC likely helped prime -- that have led to Tur being escorted from Trump events under Secret Service protection.

Houck did this again in a July 5 post by mocking the very real idea of verbal attacks on journalists going violent by, again, making the threat about himself and portraying such legitimate concerns as an "insidious ploy" to "mention outside media criticism (like the Website you’re currently visiting) in the same breath as actions and threats of physical harm against journalists."

Houck concluded his "mansplaning" post by declaring, "The arrogance of the liberal media will never grow any less infuriating." But if Bream worked for a media outlet other than Fox News, Houck wouldn't care about her safety either. That's the height of right-wing arrogance.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:36 AM EDT
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
NEW ARTICLE: The Obama Derangement Never Ends At WND
Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily has spent the past three years obsessing over an Obama-era non-scandal -- and now a right-wing legal group is helping keep WND's obsession alive well after Obama has left office. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 10:17 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 11:31 PM EDT
CNS Still Taking Potshots At Kavanaugh Despite Trump's Nomination
Topic: CNSNews.com

We wondered how CNSNews.com would handle things if President Trump had named Brett Kavanaugh -- whom it had repeatedly bashed as his name was floated as a replacement for retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy -- to actually fill the seat. Well, Trump did nominate Kavanaugh, and CNS is surprisingly still taking potshots at him despite its usual pro-Trump sycophancy.

CNS did start out in stenography mode, uncritically repeating Kavanaugh's assertion at the nomination press conference that "No President has ever consulted more widely, or talked with more people from more backgrounds, to seek input about a Supreme Court nomination" than Trump did in picking him-- which, given Trump's slavish devotion to a list of possible candidates given to him by the right-wing Federalist Society and Kavanaugh's placement on that list, is almost certainly not true.

CNS also cranked out articles repeating the expected conservative praise and liberal criticism of Kavanaugh, though another article highlighted a bipartisan group of senators who were taking a wait-and-see approach.

It took a few days, but the potshots returned. One article highlighted how "Several leading conservatives and libertarians strongly criticized President Donald Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to replace Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court, with some describing Kavanaugh as the 'Bush pick' and a judge who is not like Antonin Scalia or Clarence Thomas," while another quoted CNS figure of adoration Mark Levin complaining that "You have to assume that Kavanaugh would have voted with" Chief Justice John Roberts in supporting the constitutionality of Obamacare's tax provision.

Then CNS editor in chief Terry Jeffrey used his July 12 column to rehash a previous attack on Kavanaugh a few days earlier for accepting an assumption that an undocumented immigrant caught at the U.S. border has a right to an abortion. Jeffrey snarked: "Kavanaugh did not address the question of whether the government must allow her to buy a gun — or send a check to the House minority leader."

As much as Jeffrey and CNS may pick at the fringes of Kavanaugh's nomination, it's almost a certainty that they will ultimately fall in line like good little pro-Trump soldiers and promote it.

UPDATE: CNS published another Kavanaugh-tweaking article: A July 11 item by managing editor Michael W. Chapman highlighted "constitutional expert and Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz" -- whom Chapman noted just wrote a new book titled "The Case Against Impeaching Trump" -- bashing Kavanaugh's views on impeachment.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:51 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 6:03 PM EDT
WND Promotes Crazy Lawsuit, Hides The Craziness
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In 2016, WorldNetDaily provided damage control for author Gary Byrne, a former Secret Service officer whose then-new book making dubious, tawdry claims about the Clintons was falling apart as it was debunked as the work of a low-level agent who could not have known the things he claimed, who made claims that differed from those he testified to under oath as part of Kenneth Starr's investigation, and denounced by the Association of Former Agents of the United States Secret Service as eroding the trust between the Secret Service and those it protects.

WND is giving a boost to Byrne again in a July 1 article about his latest venture:

Former Secret Service agent Gary Byrne has filed a mega-RICO civil lawsuit against Bill and Hillary Clinton, their foundation, John Podesta, Media Matters, David Brock and even George Soros charging they are involved in an epic criminal conspiracy against him because of his role in the impeachment and his authorship of a tell-all 2016 book called “Crisis of Character: A White House Secret Service Officer Discloses His Firsthand Experience with Hillary, Bill, and How They Operate.”

But he’ll have his work cut out for him. The judge assigned to the case in D.C. District Court, Paul L. Friedman, is a Bill Clinton appointee.

Byrne asserts, among other charges, he was the victim illegal domestic and electronic surveillance at the hands of the conspiracy – especially leading up the 2016 election.

[...]

“For the past decade in which relevant predicate acts were corruptly carried out by the named defendants as ‘payback’ for Plaintiff Gary Byrne’s role in the Clinton impeachment and his status as a ‘Clinton enemy’ (for his temerity in telling the truth concerning obstruction of justice and gross abuse of power), along with their corrupt surrogates and collaborators (referenced individually and collectively as the ‘Enterprise’), David Brock and William and Hillary Clinton have been synonymous with criminal behavior, malicious baseless attacks (using mainly the illicit and vicious defamatory tactics against perceived political enemies (like Officer Gary Byrne, the Plaintiff here) of those willing to compensate participants like Brock) – and coordinating by mail and wire to violate myriad Federal and State laws in the exploitation of Enterprise nonprofit entities they use for purely partisan purposes,” Byrne says in his summary of the case.

The Clintons and their associates, Byrne says, have effectively run what amounts to an organized crime syndicate.

“This is sedition, bordering on treason, and patently illegal,” Byrne concludes.

He’s suing for more than $1.5 billion in damages for alleged violations of nearly 500 statutes.

The article is very light on details about what, exactly, Byrne is alleging. Perhaps because its link to the lawsuit is behind a paywall and WND's current precarious financial situation doesn't allow WND to spring for the cash to actually see it. But it may also be that the lawsuit is so crazy even other right-wing outlets are dubious about it.

The Daily Caller reports that "Among the many charges that appear in the at times almost incoherent filing is the charge that a criminal syndicate involving the Clintons, David Brock, Donna Brazile, and George Soros murdered Seth Rich." And the Western Journal/Conservative Tribune called the lawsuit "curious," adding that "there’s more than a soupçon of the conspiratorial behind this." But it also added, like a good anti-Clinton obsessive: "Then again, this is the Clintons — and stranger things have happened."

As a side note, both of those articles appeared more than a week before WND's version, which shows the current decimated state of WND's journalistic capabilities.

So it seems WND is doing more damage control for Byrne -- this time by omission.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:52 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 12:55 AM EDT
Tuesday, July 17, 2018
MRC's Graham Tries To Save Right-Wing Anti-Media Attacks After Newspaper Shooting
Topic: Media Research Center

As we've noted, the shooting of journalists at the Capital Gazette newspapers office in Maryland has put the Media Research Center in a defensive position by trying to draw a line between the MRC's -- and President Trump's -- occasionally vicious anti-media rhetoric and the idea that such rhetoric might inspire violence.

The MRC's Tim Graham did this in a June 30 post, complaining: "One nasty, if hardly unexpected result of the horrific mass shooting at the Annapolis Capital-Gazette newspaper is the attempt to smear it onto "anti-press sentiment." Liberals protest that they're not really accusing conservatives of shooting reporters, but they are, as usual, part of a 'climate' of hatred." Graham attacked Washington Post columnist Margaret Sullivan for making that argument. Graham huffed in response:

The biggest Fake News that people like Sullivan are pushing is that the press equals democracy, and criticism of the media elite is anti-democracy. 

Sullivan would not agree that Black Lives Matters smears on the police can be "connected" to cop shootings. Or that just because James Hodgkinson (the failed softball-field mass murderer of Republicans) liked Rachel Maddow on his Facebook page Maddow can somehow be "connected" to shooting congressmen. So this is a reckless tactic at a highly emotional time.

Funny -- if Maddow can't be blamed for Hodgkinson's actions, why did Graham highlight that connection at the time? It's as if he was trying to create a link or something. Graham also doesn't list the anti-police "smears" made by Black Lives Matter that he thinks are linked to violence -- perhaps because Black Lives Matter's agenda isn't as radical as he thinks.

Amnd it's weird how Graham apparently thinks all journalists who don't reflexively spout right-wing, pro-Trump talking points are somehow "elite" and must be attacked and mocked at every opportunity.

Graham then tried the "I know you are, but what am I?" approach:

If contempt for the press is "dangerous," then why can't Sullivan and [CNN's Brian] Stelter see that the rabid fear and loathing of President Trump might be "dangerous"? Why can't they imagine being on the wrong end of "If you attack the elected president, then you attack democracy"?

This from the organization that defended Rush Limbaugh for declaring that he hoped President Obama failed at his job -- and whose president likened Obama to a "skinny ghetto crackhead." We don't recall the MRC ever being concerned that such overheated right-wing anti-Obama rhetoric having violent consequences.

Finally, Graham pushes the idea that the MRC's and Trump's anti-media rhetoric is somehow meaningful criticism:

CNN reporters have been fulminating against Trump's use of terms like "Fake News" and "enemy of the people" and Trump's "war on the press," suggesting they encourage violence. Stelter quoted Dan Shelley, director of the Radio Television Digital News Association: "Watch your backs, but don’t back down..."

No journalist in America should fear violent reprisals for reporting the news. But calling the media "fake" is not a threat. It's just as much a part of democracy or free-speech as the left-wing diatribes they uncork in the national media, and then call themselves "news" people.

Calling the media "fake" not for reporting something that's fake but for reporting something that doesn't conform to a certain political agenda demeans media criticism -- and exposes the MRC as nothing but a partisan shill. But then, Graham has always been a terrible media critic because he puts right-wing ideology before journalism.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:25 PM EDT
Why Boise Stabbing Spree Didn't Trend At WND
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A July 4 WorldNetDaily column by Jack Cashill snarkily claimed that an incident in which a man stabbed several people in an apartment complex in Boise, Idaho, housing refugees -- killing one child -- didn't get more play because the alleged assailant, Timmy Kinner, is black and "There is nothing 'Idaho' or 'MAGA' about him." Cashill went on th claim that "In the last decade, mentally unstable black men like Kinner have killed scores of non-black victims in serial attacks that often have a racial motivation. If fame was their goal, these killers misunderstood the media.

Ironically, Cashill's column is only one of two articles at WND that even mention the stabbing incident. The other is one of WND's trademark theft of the work of others, this time a CBS report on the stabbing. One curious aspect of the excerpt WND used is that it omits any mention of the fact that the victims lived in an apartment building with refugees.

You might remember that over the past couple of years, WND -- mostly former reporter Leo Hohmann -- relentlessly fearmongered about refugees moving to Idaho, exploiting an incident in which two children of refugees engaged in alleged sexual behavior with a third child in order to inflame anti-Muslim and anti-refugee sentiment. Hohmann was particularly incensed by a Chobani yogurt plant in Idaho hiring refugees, so much so that he and WND published false smears about Chobani and founder Hamdi Ulukaya over the refugee issue -- claims that were quietly and mysteriously scrubbed and corrected months later, presumably after Chobani threatened to sue WND.

(These days, though, Hohmann is reduced to spewing his anti-Muslim hate at his own website.)

You'd be reading a lot more about this incident at WND if a refugee had been the perpetrator. But because refugees were the victims, the story gets shoved down the memory hole with copy-and-paste coverage instead of original reporting.

Instead of asking "why Boise murder didn't trend on Twitter," as the headline of his column stated, Cashill would be better off asking why it didn't trend at the "news" outlet that publishes his column. Of course, the answer -- because WND is hostile to the status and religion of the victims -- is too obvious and wouldn't fill out a whole column.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:22 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 6:33 PM EDT
MRC's West The Latest Right-Winger to Lie About Margaret Sanger
Topic: CNSNews.com

Right-wing ranter and Media Research Center senior fellow Allen West clearly knows the dead can't be libeled. Which seems to explain his July 2 column at MRC "news" division CNSNews.com, in which he huffs: "Just the same, the leftists say nothing about an organization, which they embrace, that was founded by a white supremacist, racist, one who spoke at a Klan rallies [sic] and whose work was the basis of Nazi eugenics. That person was Margaret Sanger. The organization is Planned Parenthood."

But as we've repeatedly documented, Sanger was not a white supremacist or a racist, according to experts on her.

West's claim that Sanger "spoke at a Klan rallies [sic]" is misleading as well. West's implication that Sanger is a racist -- as noted above, not true -- and he appears to be blowing up Sanger's admitted appearance to speak at a meeting of a KKK women's auxiliary (which she later described as "one of the weirdest experiences I had in lecturing") into speaking at multiple "Klan rallies."

But, again, Sanger is dead, and you can't libel the dead. Thus, West apparently believes he has free rein to lie about her in every way he can think of in order to advance another right-wing rant about phony "moral outrage" from the left. If only West thought it was morally outrageous to spread lies.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:54 AM EDT
Monday, July 16, 2018
Newsmax's Hirsen Tries To Put Positive Spin on Chaos-Laden Anti-Abortion Film
Topic: Newsmax

In his July 10 column, Newsmax's James Hirsen does his best to put a positive spin on an anti-abortion film whose shooting is beset with chaos -- and, like a good right-winger, blames it all on a Hollywood conspiracy:

When it comes to subject matter that is outside the leftist box, Hollywood just can’t endure any factual information coming to light, as witnessed by the massive overreaction by the entertainment elite to a pro-life project that is currently in production.

But Hirsen proves no "overreaction." He claims that producer and director Nick Loeb "initially attempted to be low key about the project, cast and crew so as to forestall the backlash that would inevitably come." But as the Daily Beast reported, Loeb also hid the nature of the film from the crew and from the owners of real-life locations where he tried to film.

Hirsen asserted that "The Beast is apoplectic that the narrator of the story is Dr. Bernard Nathanson (portrayed by Loeb)," a onetime abortion doctor who became an anti-abortion activist. But the Beast article shows no apoplexy over the film's use of Nathanson; it is apoplectic, however about the screenplay's obvious falsehoods (which Hirsen didn't acknowledge other than to complain that the Daily Beast noted the lies in its headline). For instance:

The year is 1966, and elderly Margaret Sanger, the world’s preeminent birth-control activist, is speaking to Larry Lader on her deathbed. Just before she passes, her dying words to Lader are as follows: “We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population,” she says. “Larry, they can’t see this coming.” The reproductive rights movement is thus framed by the film as a racist plot on a par with Hitler’s Final Solution.

This oft-repeated conservative falsehood, shared by everyone from Herman Cain to Ben Carson, stems from the willful misinterpretation of a 1939 letter Sanger wrote wherein she outlined her plan to connect with prominent leaders in the African-American community and allay their possible fears concerning family-planning clinics.

[...]

Rather, “Sanger’s correspondence shows this sentence advocates for black doctors and ministers to play leadership roles in the Negro Project to avoid misunderstandings. Lynchings and Jim Crow laws gave blacks good reason to be wary of attempts to limit the number of children they bore. In Harlem, [Sanger] hired a black doctor and social worker to quell those fears,” explained PolitiFact. “She attracted an impressive roster of supporters, including Du Bois; Mary McLeod Bethune, founder of National Council of Negro Women; and the pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church. Eleanor Roosevelt also backed the effort. For Sanger to launch a genocidal plot behind their backs and leave no true evidence in her numerous writings would require powers just shy of witchcraft.”

“After reading the script, you realize no, this isn’t opinion, this is lies and propaganda that they’re trying pass off within some historical context,” a crew member on the film, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told The Daily Beast. “With the Margaret Sanger quote, they twisted it and used it to discredit everything that she possibly did. It’s similar to what the right-wing media is doing now: they take one thing that someone said—or even half-said—and then they turn it into something that isn’t true in order to discredit everything they’ve ever done.”

Hirsen also claims: "The untold story includes Planned Parenthood’s scheme to recruit a pregnant girl to file a lawsuit that would create a right to an abortion. According to the film’s description, Nathanson, Betty Friedan and Planned Parenthood searched "the country to find a pregnant girl" that they could "use to sue the government for her right to have an abortion."

But as attorney Hirsen surely knows, finding a plaintiff for the purpose of testing the legality of a law is common, even on the conservatide side. For instance, Dick Heller, the plaintiff in a case that overturned a District of Columbia law restricting gun ownership, plotted for years to mount a legal challenge to the law and eventually hooked up with a libertarian lawyer who "needed plaintiffs" in the form of "media-friendly, law-abiding D.C. residents to serve as the public face of the case."

So desperate is Hirsen to suck up to Loeb and others involved in the film that he touts its executive producer as "Dr. Alveda C. King" even though King's doctorate is honorary, and claimed a cameo by Milo Yiannopoulos merely offers "left-wing discomfort" while not mentioning the fact that he has been shunned by most conservatives (but apparently not Hirsen) for effectively defending pedophilia.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:43 PM EDT
MRC Thinks CNN Is Just Like Infowars. Huh?
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center is doing what was unthinkable not that long ago: defending Alex Jones' conspiracy-laden Infowars operation by insisting that CNN is really no different.

In a July 13 post, Ashley Rae Goldenberg bizarrely takes offense that CNN reporter Oliver Darcy asked Facebook executives why Infowars still has a presence on Facebook despite its current campaign to purge fake news. Goldenberg concedes that Infowars is "known to many for peddling extreme conspiracy theories," but she never details that those claims are beyond offering a link detailing some of them.

Goldenberg then laughably accuses CNN of being no different than Infowars:

CNN’s complaint to Facebook cited three separate types of charges against InfoWars. Those included: items that were “demonstrably false”; “conspiracy theories”; and stories that have “smeared” news subjects. Here’s how CNN has run afoul of similar criticisms[.]"

Regarding "demonstrably false" stories, Goldenberg cited only two: a story CNN later retracted and that "CNN perpetuated the false “hands up, don’t shoot” narrative surrounding the shooting of Michael Brown." For "conspiracy theoires," Goldenberg cited idle speculation in the immediate aftermath of big stories as facts were coming in. Regarding "personal smears," Goldenberg cited Reza Aslan's "profane insult against President Trump" -- even though that was made on Aslan's personal Twitter account and not anywhere on CNN.

Goldenberg will never admit it -- and nor will her editors, given that they were the same ones who let Tom Blumer's links to white nationalist websites stand without challenge on the NewsBusters website --  but these incidents are a fraction of what CNN does, whereas they are pretty much the entirety of Infowars' offerings. There's a huge difference what Goldenberg claims are CNN's offenses and Infowars' Alex Jones claiming that, for instance, the Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax.

But that's not the end of the story. The MRC's activism division, MRC Action, has decided to make this a cause celebre by taking Goldenberg's already ridiculous analogy and ramping it up to ludicrous levels. A July 14 email to readers states (overheated bolding in original):

CNN must not have anything better to do. It’s trying to censor InfoWars.

In a recent article, CNN senior media editor Oliver Darcy revealed how he pushed Facebook to censor InfoWars, a controversial site which Darcy accused of spreading conspiracy theories and smearing news subjects. However, as NewsBusters points out, these are sins of which CNN itself is plenty guilty.

This news is outrageous — not simply because of CNN’s hypocrisy but also their pompous assertion that they have the right to suppress free speech just because they don’t agree with it. Their belief that the liberal media should be able to control what information and what opinions that public are allowed to receive. It is the height of leftist elitist arrogance.

Love them or hate them, in this situation, InfoWars could be any media outlet in America. The press has the right to speak freely in this country but CNN seems to only care about this little fact when it is in line with their agenda. They are testing how far they can go in suppressing outlets that they don’t like. Their next target could be any one of us. Anyone who doesn’t tow the liberal line.

We can’t let them get away with this.

Contact CNN this weekend and tell them what you think. Tell them that they do not get to decide what speech is acceptable in America.

The MRC doesn't bother to tell its reader that Infowars is not "any media outlet in America" -- it's a nasty purveyor of false and conspiratorial information and it should not be treated the same as CNN or any other media outlet, even the MRC's own highly biased "news" division CNSNews.com.

That the MRC thinks CNN is no different than Infowars shows how much it has given up on "media research" and cares only about being a pro-Trump, anti-media attack dog.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:56 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, July 16, 2018 3:00 PM EDT
WND Finds A Seth Rich Conspiracy Story Even It Won't Promote
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Over the past couple of years, WorldNetDaily has cynically exploited the death of Seth Rich (and just barely avoiding getting sued over said exploitation) as a way to attack the Clintons, for whom it has an obsessive hatred, and to feed its own conspiratorial inclinations.

An anonymous written July 9 WND article pushed the latest conspiratorial development:

The convoluted case of the murder in Washington, D.C., of Democratic operative Seth Rich has taken another turn, with a lobbyist who has been investigating the case claiming a “credible” witness has been found.

Jack Burkman, a Washington-based lawyer and lobbyist, told the Gateway Pundit blog: “We believe that we have reached the beginning of the end of the Seth Rich murder investigation. After two long hard years of work, we have a witness who is prepared to identify the two killers of Seth Rich.”

Burkman told the blog in an exclusive interview on Sunday that one of the culprits identified by the witness is an agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration and the other is an agent for the ATF, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Burkman said the witness has conclusive evidence that will bring the killers to justice.

WND didn't mention that the Gateway Pundit article was written by a former WND emplolyee, Alicia Powe, who lost her job as WND shed personnel earlier this year in a cost-cutting frenzy to stay alive.

But Burkman's press conference was, to mut it mildly, a disaster. As Right Wing Watch reported, the purported witness appeared only via "an off-white speakerphone from years past resting on a table" and was coached through the call by Burkman, but "reporters in the room—even those largely sympathetic to conspiracy theories about Rich’s murder—left unconvinced" of the purported witness' credibility.

Even Powe -- who pushed Seth Ricih conspiracy theories, particularly those from Burkman, while at WND -- wasn't convinced. Her follow-up story at Gateway Pundit carried the headline "Activists Sully Second Anniversary of Seth Rich Murder with Batsh*t Crazy Press Conference"; the article itself doesn't really back that, instead uncritically repeating what happened at the presser. It's a badly written, badly edited piece that strangely omits Burkman's name as the ringleader of the charade and concludes (typos in original): "If you presume the witness is telling the truth the reasons he would fear for his safety are quite obvious you are dealin with bad feds. Its clear to me a big problem in law intel bureaucracy the government works out of necessity with too many people who have been on the other side of the laws."

Interestingly, WND did no reporting at all on what actually happened at Burkman's presser. Could it be that WND recognized what a fiasco this was and decided not to give it any coverage even though it's still firmly in its conspiratorial wheelhouse?

Perhaps. The shocker here is that WND apparently has standards.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:28 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, July 16, 2018 10:16 AM EDT
Sunday, July 15, 2018
CNS, WND Play Down Scandals In Reporting on Pruitt's Resignation
Topic: CNSNews.com

The resignation of EPA chief Scott Pruitt amid a lengthy and growing list of scandals and controversies got the ConWeb in the way you'd expect from pro-Trump state media: by heavily downplaying the scandal aspect.

CNS' Melanie Arter led her article on Pruitt's resignation by noting that it came "after months of misconduct allegations" -- but that's the only reference to them. The remainder of Arter's nine-paragraph article is dedicated to repeating President Trump's praise for Ptuitt.

WorldNetDaily's Art Moore began his article by noting the "accusations of multiple ethical failures" against Pruitt, and he later noted that "Government investigators have been looking into Pruitt’s renting of a Capitol Hill condominium linked to an energy lobbyist on favorable terms, the high cost of his travel and security detail and other accusations of mistreatment of employees, wasteful spending and unethical decisions."

But Moore then went on to portray Pruitt as the victim of a "political hit job":

One of Pruitt’s biggest critics, Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., tweeted Thursday that Pruitt remained in his position so long only because Trump “liked his zealotry” on deregulation.

“Scott Pruitt’s reign of venality is finally over,” wrote Connolly. “He made swamp creatures blush with his shameless excesses. All tolerated because Trump liked his zealotry. Shame.”

In contrast, talk-radio and Fox News host Mark Levin on Thursday characterized Pruitt as a victim of a political hit job.

“Well, they finally got Scott Pruitt. The EPA is hostile territory for any true conservative trying to tame it,” he wrote. “And the acting administrator is another lifer. Major step backward.”

[...]

Washington observer Mollie Hemingway, senior editor at the online magazine The Federalist and a contributor for Fox News, said Thursday that the issue is “not that Scott Pruitt showed bad judgment” – although she said some charges were false or exaggerated – it’s that he was effective in his job and, from the beginning, drew the wrath of a campaign called “Boot Pruitt.”

Hemingway, in a panel discussion on Bret Baier’s “Special Report,” said Pruitt was “articulating and advancing an agenda very different than what you had seen from previous EPA administrators.”

She emphasized that the reason Pruitt was under attack for the entirety of his administration was not because he showed bad judgment.

“The campaign that was funded by so many of these environmental groups was about going over every single decision he made, every single casual comment he made, with a fine-toothed comb so they could oust him,” she said.

Hemingway said the success of the Boot Pruitt effort will make it a blueprint for the left, noting that already activists are calling for the new acting administrator, Wheeler, to be removed, arguing he will continue Pruitt’s policies.

Framing Pruitt's ouster as a conspiracy very much up WND's editorial alley.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:29 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, July 15, 2018 9:29 PM EDT
Apparently, Mocking Bono Is 'Media Research' At The MRC
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's brand of "media research" is departing further and further from anything substantive and moving closer to just insulting people its writers don't like.

A good example is this July 3 post by Gabriel Hays, who seems more interested in taking potshots at Bono than having anything useful to say:

The world’s ambassador for peace and self-righteousness, Bono hasn’t been holding up well in light of recent criticisms against the UN and NATO.

The Associated Press reported on Tuesday that the famous U2 frontman warned “that the United Nations and other international institutions including the European Union and NATO are under threat — and nations must work together to ensure their continued existence.”

Bono, a giant in the world of fancy charity events and posing for photos with impoverished African kids, did his best to kiss up to crowd of UN diplomats at an event for a potential Irish UN seat. Referencing the recent criticism by various world governments, Bono worried that the role of unaccountable international organizations was in danger.

He claimed, “I love that it [the UN] exists, and I’ll tell you, I don’t take for granted that it exists, or that it will continue to exist because let’s be honest, we live in a time when institutions as vital to human progress as the United Nations are under attack.”

Well, the UN is at least vital in propping up famous faces like Bono as international do-gooders, but that’s beside the point, right?

Of course, actual media criticism is beside the point for Hays when there's a popular musician -- who, unlike Hays or any other MRC employee, has an actual track record of helping people in the world -- to mock for believing things he doesn't.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:02 PM EDT
Saturday, July 14, 2018
WND Columnist Repeats Evidence-Free Rumor of Ex-CIA Chief's Conversion to Islam
Topic: WorldNetDaily

When we last checked in on WorldNetDaily columnist John Griffing, he was so busy spewing hate that he couldn't be bothered to get his facts straight. He's still at it.

In the midst of a July 8 WND column spreading his usual anti-liberal hate, Griffing described former CIA director "John 'Benghazi' Brennan" as "a man who once voted for the Communist presidential candidate and may have converted to Islam." Griffing actually gets the first claim right, albeit out of context; Brennan did vote for a communist presidential candidate in 1976 -- but he was a college student at the time, it was a protest vote, and he was hired by the CIA anyway despite admitting the vote.

Griffing's so-called proof that Brennan " may have converted to Islam" is a 2013 WND article quoting the evidence-free claim being made by ex-FBI agent John Guandolo. Griffing didn't mention that -- as we noted at the time -- Guandolo is utterly discredited, having left the FBI after being exposed as a serial philanderer and adulterer who jeopardized a federal investigation by having sex with a witness and trying to get her to donate money to a right-wing "anti-terrorism" organization. Guandolo has still not offered any proof to back up his claim.

So, not exactly the most reliable source. Then again, neither is Griffing.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:44 AM EDT

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